The Sixth Man – Episode 38

Haverston’s Thesis

“I was educated at Columbia,” Haverston said. “One of the best schools of psychology in the nation if not the world. My doctorate thesis was a study on amnesia victims. My thesis was published into a book that is still used today. I have sense written three other books based on actual studies of various cases I’ve been involved in.”

Haverston stopped and looked at Wilson curiously. “This is rather mundane, do you want me to go on?”

“When you have nothing up here,” Wilson said pointing at his head, “The mundane seems new and exciting.”
Haverston smiled. “Clever, Mr. Joseph.” He continued. “I served four years in the Army beyond school. It was a good arrangement. I was burdened with dept and the armed services were woefully low on psychologists. That’s how my education was paid for. I worked with soldiers who claimed to be victims of amnesia.”

“I’m curious,” Wilson said. “What were the results of your findings.”

“Amazingly,” Haverston said, “in all my work I did not find one soldier who suffered from true amnesia.”

“I suppose once you got out of the army this made you popular with prosecutors,” Wilson said. “All those guys that killed there wives and can’t remember a thing about it.”

Haverston wore a smug smile. “Unfortunately, that is often the case.”

“How many cases of true amnesia have you come across?” Wilson said.

“None,” Haverston said. “And don’t back away, that leaves me in the best position to help you.”

“How so?” Wilson said.

“Let’s say you wanted a few days off work,” Haverston said. “There was a project coming up that you just did not want to do and you knew your boss would be unusually demanding; demanding to the point it might make you ill. Let’s say I’m your personal physician and you come to me with back pain. You say you can’t sit at your desk and your back pain is giving you headaches so bad you find it difficult to cope or think. I give you a doctor’s excuse for some medication to ease the pain and knowing with the medication you can’t drive to work or perform at optimum at a high level job I give you a week off.

What do you see wrong with all this?”

“I’m laying to avoid something unpleasant,” Wilson said.

“That’s right,” Haverston said, “and if you had been truthful with me I could have helped you find a way to get along with your boss and found the real root of you problem.”

“Which might have been what,” Wilson said.

“Fear of failure, the fear of displeasing someone, the fear of being fired…”

“So it’s fear,” Wilson said, “It’s about overcoming fear.”

“In my scenario,” Haverston said, “it my be the fear of being fired, but it may come down to the perception the person may think of himself as incompetent or unworthy. Let me assure you we all have a level of incompetence, but we are all worthy.”
Wilson smiled. “That’s very nice to know.”

“So let’s say I’m hiding something from you,” Wilson said, “how do you get me to reveal it.”

“You trust that I will never judge you, Mr. Joseph,” Haverston said.

“That’s very compassionate and wise of you,” Wilson said. “But haven’t you already judged that in all likelihood I don’t have amnesia? Doesn’t all your experience, scholarship, and training suggest that? Maybe I don‘t like my boss or my work, but maybe I really do have a bad back. Bad backs are nearly impossible to diagnose, right?”

“Amnesia is easier to diagnose than a bad back, Mr. Joseph,” Haverston said.

“Sure,” Wilson said sarcastically, “it doesn’t exist.”

“Why are you here, Mr. Joseph?” Haverston said.

“Truth, Dr. Haverston,” Wilson said. “I want the truth or at least your version.”

“What do you mean?” Haverston said.

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